BNFF14 PREVIEW: The 8th Annual Buffalo Niagara Film Festival

It’s eight years later and The Buffalo Niagara International Film Festival is still going strong April 24th through May 3rd. I personally missed organizer and filmmaker Bill Cowell‘s inaugural season, but have been attending off and on as both a ticket holder and member of the press since. My first experience was in 2008 at the Riviera Theatre in Tonawanda. I drove over mostly because that night’s feature had a cast consisting of Bruce Dern and Kristen Stewart (pre-Twilight). While director Mary Stewart Masterson‘s The Cake Eaters proved worthy of…

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REVIEW: Grudge Match [2013]

“This is not the behavior of old men, man” Someone had the brilliant idea of putting Rocky Balboa and Jake La Motta in the ring together at the ripe old comedic age of seventy and their Hollywood surrogates agreed to no one’s surprise. Not only that, but the actors also found added pleasure in playing these latest roles as somewhat of a parody on themselves with Robert De Niro‘s Billy “The Kid” McDonnen being all about the easy financial score (see the two-time Oscar-winner’s trajectory the past two decades) and…

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REVIEW: Fame High [2013]

“Engage us” A real life version of Fame on the west coast, Scott Hamilton Kennedy’s coming-of-age documentary Fame High shows us the pressures of pursuing an arts education and career at the Los Angeles County High School for the Arts. Shot over a period of sixteen months, the film follows four students as they battle expectations, desires, talent, hard work, and all the other teenage stuff us normal kids went through too. LACHSA has a 95% rate for college enrollment and prepares its students for the fierce competition inherent to…

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REVIEW: The Back-up Plan [2010]

“It’s stubborn, overly-paranoid, and distrustful of men” Over the years Jennifer Lopez has been involved in some good films. I’m talking Out of Sight, U-Turn, and The Cell—movies that have a dark edge to them and stay far, far away from the romantic comedy genre she so readily takes roles for. So, let’s just say I had zero expectations going into her newest entry and CBS Films’ sophomore effort The Back-up Plan. I’ll admit to wanting to be anywhere else but in that theatre, anticipating a horrible affair that would…

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REVIEW: Transformers [2007]

“More than meets the eye” Michael Bay is by no means a director for whom I hold each new film with anticipation. The man doesn’t do subtlety and he doesn’t do intelligent storytelling either. However, you cannot say he doesn’t have both artistic vision and deft skill at shooting a film. Sure the guy likes to blow things up. But being able to consistently make work with the amount of preparation and choreography his necessitates deserves some credit. When the idea of a live action Transformers movie was being bandied…

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REVIEW: 無間道 [Infernal Affairs] vs. The Departed [2002 & 2006]

“I can’t finish the novel, I don’t know whether he’s good or bad” This is a question posed to Andy Lau’s character, by his live-in girlfriend, in the brilliant Cantonese film 無間道 [Infernal Affairs]. She is a writer plodding through the plot of her new novel, which eerily mirrors the double life lived by her significant other. A small detail like this helped create characters that live and breathe with a history behind them. Unfortunately, while adding almost an hour of length, Martin Scorsese’s new remake, The Departed, fails to…

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